John W. & Marian King

For the past 25 years, John W. King has been telling the story of the 16th President during that great conflict. John is a full-sized, first person portrayer of Lincoln at 6 feet 4 inches. He gives a brief look at Abraham Lincoln’s life from the log cabin to the White House. His presentation can be from 15 minutes to an hour in length, followed by questions and answers.

As a retired teacher, John educates his audience in a most entertaining manner. He has brought Mr. Lincoln to life for school students, historical groups, civic groups, churches, clubs, a Law Day dinner, birthday party, Civil War re dedications, festivals, and Memorial Day parades. Group size has ranged from as few as 10 people, to as many as 350 students.

At the Lake County Law Day Dinner, “President Lincoln” spoke for 15 minutes about his education and legal training, followed by questions and answers. He was asked if he thought a former slave could ever be elected President. His response was, "Probably not,but who would have thought someone born in a log cabin with less than a year of formal education could be President; so I guess anything is possible."

As the dinner guest for an 80-year-old gentleman’s birthday party, “Mr. Lincoln” talked about the Civil War for about 45 minutes when the gentleman commented, “You’re my hero”.

Marian King will portray Mary Todd Lincoln during the 2019 Emancipation Celebration. Perhaps no First Lady is more misunderstood than Mary Todd Lincoln. Her life was tragic from beginning to end - filled with loss, public criticism, and hatred. Outspoken and emphatic in her views, Mary Lincoln was politically active during a time when this was unacceptable behavior for a woman.

Mary Todd was born to a prominent family in Lexington, Kentucky on December 13, 1818. When she was six, her mother died. Her father remarried a younger woman and Mary had a difficult relationship with her stepmother. From her father's two marriages, she had a total of 14 siblings.

Highly educated, capricious, and politically savvy, she was never boring. Mary was courted by several gentlemen, but wed Abraham Lincoln (nine years older) on November 4, 1842 at her sister Elizabeth’s house in Springfield, IL. They had four sons, Robert Todd, Edward Baker, William Wallace (Willie), and Thomas (Tad) – three of which died before Mary.

Mary lost favor with the American public during her husband’s presidency because of her Southern roots and her over-spending on Executive Mansion redecorating. The pressures of Civil War, slanderous newspaper articles, and losing two children while in the White House strained her marriage and mental stability. After witnessing her husband's assassination in 1865, Mary was understandably a broken woman.